Posts filed under ‘Quilt lessons’

What I Did on My Summer Vacation


I’ve been noticeably absent from my blog for the summer: too caught up in living intentionally to keep up with good intentions to post regularly. Here’s how life along the way has played out for the last few months: providence


Our little church blessed us by sending us to the beautiful Laurentian area of Quebec for three days of prayer, praise and preparation for moving forward together with the other churches in our fellowship. Blessed by the astounding young worship leaders who led us in familiar hymns and choruses in both languages: a favourite English hymn with a French cadence becomes uniquely meaningful all over again. Blessed by time spent sharing with fellow pastors: common struggles and shared joys.

God provided all we needed and then, for full measure, blessed us with three more days for laughter and splashing and getting wet and sunburned and very happy with our grandkids and their parents.



A week cat-sitting for friends gave me the quiet restful time I needed after the hustle of travel and adventure. Right in the centre of  downtown Vancouver, July is a wonderful time to sit in the park people-watching and enjoying summer and sunshine in a beautiful city. Sunday, I wandered into the nearest service: a large [by our standards!] Baptist Church. There, my soul was refreshed by the clear streams of music sung full voice: I still smile thinking of the enthusiastic tenor behind me

Bless the Lord, oh my soul OH MY SOUL!   


When I first determined that this would be a year of living intentionally, I foolish thought that meant I’d make a plan and stick to it. Not so! Summer had its challenges too: a teenager refusing to accept responsibility; a precious daughter-of-my-heart facing health problems while trying to cope with a new baby; a friend navigating the shoals of family discord;  an apartment to clear and and a funeral to prepare. All were exercises in living intentionally!  

Turns out, intentional means being alert to God’s calling and following him on the path of righteousness: occasionally stretched almost to breaking, trusting in His leading, seeking to discern his direction. [Mostly] I curbed my sarcasm, kept my temper, focused on His goals and trusted that His goodness and hesed  is continuing to chase me down. 

As for MY plans…., not so much.


That’s been my intentional summer: trials and laughter and frustrations and sheer unadulterated joy.

Before the clouds sock in and the months of drizzle begin,  summer gave us one last Hurrah!

My friend and fellow pastor Don Weston asked me to “do the quilt thing” for the dear folks in his church. When we agreed on the 23rd Psalm message, I found the impetus I’ve been lacking for [ahem] EIGHT years while I claimed to be trying to figure out how to quilt the Shepherd’s Light  top. Determined to finish it before I preached, I put the last stitches in the binding on Saturday night and, after our own church service, headed down-Island through the pouring rain into a brief blaze of sunlight just as we began to set up.

We pinned the quilt to the wall and I stepped back to look  for the first time. The Shepherd’s Light glows against the darkness of the shadows: more powerful than I had ever imagined. So, I spoke about the Shepherd and His care and I talked to the people about ministering to one another out of the overflow of His love and mercy, feeling as though my own cup was running over…

Bless the Lord oh my soul, OH MY SOUL!


Click on the photo and scroll down to order

original mini-s

Focus on the 23 Psalm in depth  through the seven lessons in this stunning quilt designed to finish approximately 62″ square.

BONUS: Includes a step-by-step guide to mastering set-in-points from Quilter’s Neighbourhood library of Basic blocks.

 $12 *        *US funds


October 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

Free Pattern: AUNT DINAH


UPDATE:  I lost some of the printed directions for shaded four-patches during the upload. If you printed this pattern before March 21, please reprint the corrected version below. So sorry for the inconvenience!

As promised in our last post, DENYING DINAH,  here’s the free pattern for the Aunt Dinah block originally presented as part of the Genesis to Job series at Quilter’s Neighbourhood.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if women’s shelters everywhere could be “blanketed” with quilts to remind victims of violence that they are loved and cherished by our Saviour? If you know [or have been] a Dinah, here’s my challenge to honour her by making a dozen of these blocks in scrappy fabrics and using them to make a quilt for a shelter near you. That gift of love can be the first step on the road to restoration for a hurting woman and her family.

NOTE: as with all the patterns in the Genesis to Job series, we offered Aunt Dinah in two sizes: 6″ and 12″. You will find it easiest to highlight the instructions for your chosen size: 6″ blocks are in italic; 12″ in regular.

blankdinahStep 1 Choose fabrics: Lots of potential here: this is a great block to experiment with value and transparency. See how different it looks with the same darker fabric in the e and f positions?

For my Aunt Dinah quilt, I made 6 blocks with blue B and E, six with cream in those positions. I added two different focus fabrics for G plus a variety of reds, greens, browns and beiges  for all the other patches. To my eye, the variations in value and in the placement of light, dark and bright fabrics in a controlled scrap palette really make this quilt special.

Step 2 Cutting:

Fabric  Patch # to cut 6″ Block  12″ Block
Dark/medium a 4 1 ½” 2 ½”
Background b 4 1 ½” x 2 ½” 2 ½” x 3½”
Background/dark e 1 3 ¼” 5 ¼”
Dark/medium/focus c 2 2 ½” x 3 ½” 4½” x 5½”
Medium/light d 2 3 ¼” 5 ¼”
Medium/light/ bright f 1 3 ¼” 5 ¼”
Focus g 1 2 ½” 4½”
Step 3 Shaded four-patch units
I’ve never been a big fan of sewing bias edges. This method, adapted from Billie Lauder’s excellent technique for Shaded four-patch units, avoids the problems with bias. As a bonus, you’ll make two four-patch units at one time.
  • Sew a b rectangle to each a square. Pay close attention to the shading. Press seams toward the B rectangles
  • Sew these units together to make an elongated 4-patch. Don’t worry! The seams aren’t supposed to match in the centre!
  • Clip the long seam in the middle almost to the stitching at the point marked X on the diagram, then press each half of the seam toward the B rectangle. Set this unit face up on the top of your table or cutting board – be sure it looks exactly like the diagram– the a squares should be on the upper right and the lower left.

Hint: I prefer to use a square ruler for this step, but you may certainly use a long one if that’s all you have – just be sure you can identify the 45° line.

  • Align the diagonal line of your square ruler (or the 45° line if you’re using a long ruler) with the short edge of the C rectangle (wrong side up), so that the top corner of the ruler is on the upper left corner of the rectangle.
  • Using an erasable pen, or a fine pen or pencil, draw a line from the corner to the opposite long side of the rectangle – it won’t be on the corner! This will be your stitching line, so be sure you use something that will either wash out or not show through to the front.
  • Turn the rectangle around, realign the diagonal of the ruler along the other short edge, again matching the corner of the ruler to the corner of the rectangle. Draw another line. The two lines will be almost (but not quite) parallel. (See the sketch.)
  • Place the rectangle on top of the 4-patch unit, being sure you keep the fabrics in the direction of the diagrams.
  • Sew ON the lines. Cut between the stitching lines. Lay the 1/4″ mark of your ruler along the seam line and sliver trim the seams to an accurate 1/4″
  • Press units open. You will have two shaded 4-patch units. Square them up to 4 1/2″; [2 1/2″]

hourglassStep 4 Hourglass Units

  • qsquarePlace the e square right sides together with a d square. Draw a diagonal line corner to corner on the lighter fabric Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the drawn line. Cut on the line to make two half-square triangle units. Press seams toward the d.
  • Repeat with the remaining d square and the f square.
  • Place a d/f half-square triangle right sides together with a d/e unit being sure the d triangles face the e and f triangles and the seams butt. Draw a diagonal line crossing the seams as in the diagram. Sew on either side of the diagonal line. Cut on the line and press to make two hourglass units. Repeat with remaining d/e and d/f units. Square up hourglass units to 4 1/2″; [2 1/2″ ]

assembleStep 5- Assemble block

  • Paying close attention to the direction of the triangles, lay the units out in three rows, with the g square in the centre and the f triangles facing it as shown. Sew together in rows, pressing seams away from the hourglass units.
  • Butting seams, sew the rows together.
  • Press carefully. Your completed block should measure 12 1/2″ [6 1/2″]

©2008 : Kimberley I. Graham. No portion may be reproduced or redistributed without express written consent

I hope you enjoy making this block: please take a moment to share a photo of your project. God bless you! Thanks for your notes of support and encouragement!


PLEASE NOTE: The Genesis to Job series is no longer available at Quilter’s Neighbourhood. If you’re interested in this series of 21 blocks, please drop me a line or comment below. If enough people are interested, I’ll prepare a PDF for purchase.

March 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm 6 comments

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

“You must have a lot of fabric” my students often comment. Yup. It’s known as a FABLE…Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. Here’s some of it, more or less neatly folded after my last reorganization [there’s more non-quilt stuff and flannels hiding in a wardrobe in the basement]:

I’m challenging myself for the next six months to work ONLY from stash wherever possible. I’ll post an on-going tally of how much yardage I’ve used. Care to join me in using up some of your fabric rather than purchasing new? Drop me a line…I’ll come up with a prize for the one who uses the most yardage from stash before July. [Repurposing fabric as prizes counts as using it, doesn’t it?]

November 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm 3 comments

Free Tutorial and Pattern: Temple Court


When I do trunk shows, I explain that the temple court block illustrates the Old Testament temple with its many different courts all leading to the  Holy of Holies. At Christ’s death, the thick curtain that kept ordinary people at a distance was torn from top to bottom: in that moment, every believer becomes a member of the holy priesthood, able to approach the Throne of God for himself! (see Matthew 27:51)

I’m really excited about this quilt: to my mind, the rich colours glowing against a dark background point to the opulence of Solomon’s Temple with its  precious metals and jewels. This is a controlled scrappy quilt: each block is different, although the gorgeous floral border print remains the focus in all 12.

If you use EQ7 and would like to explore your own versions of this wonderful pattern, drop me a line. I’m happy to share my EQ files with you, but please do remember to “give credit where credit is due.”

Cutting directions are  in a PDF for you to download by clicking on this link: CUTTING DIRECTIONS.

Note that I chose to piece the centre patch Stack ‘n Whack style.

  • If you want a similar look from your print, cut 8 identical 2 5/8″ squares [F and G in the in cutting directions diagram.]
  • Four of the squares are sewn together 4-patch style to make the centre  F patch.
  • (HINT: If Stack ‘n Whack is new to you, here’s a video demonstration of Bethany Reynold’s popular technique.)

A little daunted by partial seams? There’s a simplified version of this block in The Word in Patchwork

The photo-tutorial follows. Click on the thumbnail photos for full size pictures and navigate through the lesson using the arrows on the pictures. (more…)

November 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

Temple Court: Looking at Both Sides of the Question

“You pay for both sides of the fabric”, so choose which one works!

I’m determined to reduce the FABLE [Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy] in my sewing room cupboards, so I’ve been relying on stash for my Temple Court blocks. I wanted to add in some olives and some darker golds to offset the red and green and keep this from reading “Christmas.” But, although my cupboard has lots of both colours, the exact shades I wanted proved elusive.

I had a strip of olive left from a quilt backing that was the right shade, but the ditzy little leaf print didn’t play nicely with the batiks and tone-on-tones. Flipping the fabric over so that the print is “mushier” solved that problem, while still giving me the shade I want.

I used a similar trick to find the right gold. The closest I could find was too harsh and bullying next to the other fabrics, but the reverse of that same print is a little lighter with light patches instead of the strong gold with brown blotches. Perfect!

Here’s one finished block using both “reversed” fabrics. It’s hard to get true colour in my inexpert photography, but you can just see the original tones of the darker gold under the block.

All twelve of my Temple Court blocks are finished, ready for the dogears and threads to be trimmed prior to assembling with black setting triangles. My plan calls for 3 rows of 4 blocks each separated by bands of the focus fabric. I’m not sure which fabric I’ll use to frame the strips: probably either the gold or a lighter golden yellow.

I’m really pleased with the way this is turning out. Stay tuned for more and for the tutorial I hope to have ready in the next few days.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends: I trust, like me, you have many reasons to praise the Creator this year.

All the blocks for Temple Court

I am grateful for each one of you who reads my blog and takes a moment to send a note of encouragement. God Bless!


October 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment


Have you been wondering when the Temple Court tutorial is going to appear? Let’s just say, we’ve run into some “technical difficulties.”

In case you’re thinking my computer is causing me problems, I’ll confess it’s a much simpler piece of equipment that I’m wrestling with: the iron!

To be specific, I’ve had quite a struggle pressing seams for this block. While the partial-seam technique I mentioned in my last post works like a charm, the final assembly for these blocks hasn’t gone smoothly, to say the least.

As a matter of fact, they’re downright LUMPY! Take a look at the back of this early attempt: each of the circles highlights a point at which seams pile up to make a big, unsightly lump.  From the front, it looks fine, but I know I’m going to be grumbling as I try to quilt through multiple layers where seams collide.

Pressing in the other direction didn’t help much: it simply moved the pileups to new locations. Clipping seams and alternating directions was a little better, but I’m never happy with the way patches look from the right side when their seams are clipped on the back.

Finally, after numerous attempts, I arrived at a compromise that seems [pun intended!] to work well for Temple Court. In addition to the partial seam technique, I’m pressing some of the seams open, removing a few stitches to make others change directions and achieving a tidy block that lays perfectly flat.

I’ll include pressing instructions in the tutorial, but it’s worth noting that pressing seams open instead of to one side or the other is sometimes the best solution when piecing complex blocks. Here are a few  hints I’ve discovered as I worked at finding the best pressing plan for this block:

  • Pick out skimpy seams and correct rather than just sewing a second wider seam: if you’re going to press open, you can’t have two rows of stitching.
  • Don’t trim off the dog-ears where points are sewn until after the block is complete: they’re useful “handles” to help flip seams where necessary and to hold onto with a pin or stiletto as you sew across diagonal seams.
  • Snip a couple of stitches where seams cross and flip those dog-ears over when necessary to make seams lie flat. If you compare the pileup points circled above with the seams-open block, you’ll see the dog-ears go in opposite directions at each of those points. That’s part of what helps the block lie flat. I’ll trim the dog-ears as I assemble the quilt top.

Look for a complete photo tutorial in the next week or so. I’m working on adding captions to the photos and getting them formatted for easier viewing. In the meantime, here’s one I discovered as I was flipping through the gallery making sure I had all the steps covered….photo-bombed by Quilt Inspector Django!

“Hey! What’s she doing now? Wow! Bright lights!”

God Bless!


September 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

Kim’s Design Wall: Rebuilding the Temple


I love the Temple Court pattern: deceptively simple, changes in value and fabric placement drastically change the way this block appears. For The Word in Patchwork, I simplified the block by adding a couple of lines to turn the centre into a square-on-point surrounded by flying geese units. This allowed newer patchworkers to learn simple, accurate techniques for creating flying geese and squares-in-squares, matching points, and constructing blocks by building units then combining them.

But, for this gorgeous floral border stripe, I needed to go back to the traditional version of  Temple Court. I chose to substitute a  “stack-and-whack” style four-patch for a kaleidoscope effect in the centre, while the stripe portion of my print is cut carefully for the rectangles.

Construction of these blocks has proven challenging. My original plan to use set in seams was better in theory than in practice: the various units went together smoothly, but, even with y seaming, I found myself ripping and resewing so often I was afraid the fabric would be in shreds. Achieving crisp points while maintaining straight seams along the striped units was difficult, to say the least. Eventually, I decided that close is good enough.

Clearly, if I was going to make a dozen of these blocks, I’d have to reconsider my technique. Once again, a tilt of the head gave me the solution. This method would require a different tool from the patchwork toolbox: partial seaming.

TaDa! In less than half the time I spent fiddling with the set-in version, the partial seam version went together smoothly and easily.  I expect to finish all the blocks by the end of the month. Stay tuned to see the rest!


Here are the first three blocks for this quilt, together with the border stripe. I’m thinking about a diagonal set with the border print between strips of blocks.

A simpler version of this block is included in The Word in Patchwork available to purchase from Quilter’s Neighbourhood. If  you’d like instructions for our partial-seam version [maybe you have your own drop-dead-gorgeous border print], add a note below. If enough people ask for it, I’ll post a tutorial and PDF with the Electric Quilt rotary cutting instructions.

God bless



September 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm 6 comments

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